Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Free Book: Readers in Context, Sheffield UK 1929-1955

The cover of Steel City by Mary Grover features a photograph of a young girl in a library, selecting some books to read

Grover, Mary (2023).
Steel City Readers: Reading for Pleasure in Sheffield, 1925-1955. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press.

With the exception of Mairead Owen's (1990) thesis, I haven't come across a lot of work which relates to UK romance readers. Mary Grover's new book doesn't focus on romance, but it is open access and available free for download and it provides important insight into a group of readers whose stories would otherwise have been lost to the academic record. She interviewed "65 men and women who shared their reading histories with the community history group ‘Reading Sheffield’ between 2011 and 2019" and

All were born before 1946. Their reading memories were collected by the community history group, ‘Reading Sheffield’, between 2011 and 2019. These readers were born in a time of economic depression followed by wartime and post-war austerity. They grew up in an industrial city which for most of the twentieth century set little store by bookish or clerkly skills. Yet they developed a habit of reading that changed their lives, personally, culturally and economically. How and why did this happen?

There isn't a lot specifically about romance novels, because the focus is on readers and where/how/why they obtained their reading material but I've collected the quotes specifically about the genre here. If you're interested in the history of Sheffield/libraries/reading, this is definitely worth a look.

Sunday, May 21, 2023

Free Book (for a Limited Time Only): Publishing Romance Fiction in the Philippines

This is just an image of the cover of the book. It's very plain: dark green with a giant ampersand on it, title and names of authors.

Jodi McAlister, Claire Parnell and Andrea Anne Trinidad's Publishing Romance Fiction in the Philippines has just been published by Cambridge University Press and "is free online from 19th May 2023 - 2nd June 2023." You can download it from https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009092289 by clicking on the "save pdf" button which appears directly below the summary.

Here's some more information about the book:

The romance publishing landscape in the Philippines is vast and complex, characterised by entangled industrial players, diverse kinds of texts, and siloed audiences. This Element maps the large, multilayered, and highly productive sector of the Filipino publishing industry. It explores the distinct genre histories of romance fiction in this territory and the social, political and technological contexts that have shaped its development. It also examines the close connections between romance publishing and other media sectors alongside unique reception practices. It takes as a central case study the Filipino romance self-publishing collective #RomanceClass, analysing how they navigate this complex local landscape as well as the broader international marketplace. The majority of scholarship on romance fiction exclusively focuses on the Anglo-American industry. By focusing here on the Philippines, the authors hope to disrupt this phenomenon, and to contribute to a more decentred, rhizomatic approach to understanding this genre world.